Aaron Weinstein

Award-winning Master Jazz Violinist & Humorist

Called “the Groucho of the violin” by Tony Bennett and “a perfect musician” by jazz guitar legend, Bucky Pizzarelli, Aaron Weinstein “is rapidly establishing himself as one of his instrument’s rare jazz masters.” (Don Heckman, International Review of Music). He’s also a sought-after keynote speaker, lecturer and performer for music, film, and lecture series. His unique and original presentations combining lecture, performance and film clips are renowned for not only his insight and performance but his wit and humor. “Aaron can inject off-the-cuff humor into displays of serious scholarship and musicianship, such that the sum of his program is entertaining on several levels.” (Bruce Gast, Ocean County College Series). Weinstein has spoken at the Jacob Burns Film Center, Maryland Hall for the Arts, the New York Sheet Music Society at the Lotos Club, the New Jersey Jazz Society, to name a few.

Weinstein’s “Jazz Violin: On Film and Live!” is geared toward non-musician audiences and is often programmed as part of music series, film series, and lecture series. The format of these programs usually includes a brief overview of jazz by Weinstein followed by his curation of film clips of violin greats, Q&A, and then a brief concert set by him. Weinstein’s “Carving Out a Career in Music/Jazz” is primarily for music students. “Delusional Divas & All That Jazz” is a mix of live jazz performance and rollicking stories about performing with Les Paul, Tony Bennett and surviving narcissistic divas, sexual propositions from an octogenarian jazz fan, and humorous insights on peer criticism, success, intelligence, and food poisoning.

As a featured soloist, Aaron Weinstein has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Birdland, Blue Note, and abroad at jazz festivals in England, France, Iceland, Israel, and Switzerland. He has performed and recorded with an array of jazz icons including: Les Paul, Bucky Pizzarelli, John Pizzarelli, Dick Hyman, Dave Frishberg, Jon Hendricks, and Annie Ross, as well as musicians as varied as New York Pops conductor, Skitch Henderson and rock guitarist, Jay Geils. He has written arrangements for vocalists including Christine Ebersole, Linda Lavin, and the Manhattan Transfer’s Janis Siegel. Additionally, Weinstein is a respected mandolinist, widely regarded as one of the instrument’s leading exponents in the jazz idiom and author of the best-selling Jazz mandolin book, Mandolin Chord Melody System from Mel Bay Publications.

Aaron Weinstein is the recipient of both the New York City Bistro and New York City Nightlife Awards. With the release of his Arbors Records debut, A Handful of Stars (heralded as “the rebirth of the hot jazz violin” by Nat Hentoff of the Wall Street Journal), Weinstein became the youngest jazz musician to record for the prestigious label. He is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music where he was awarded a full four-year talent-based scholarship. Politically, Weinstein is a bow tie rights activist. He is also lactose intolerant but can find at least one agreeable item on any restaurant menu, a feat he’s called, “my greatest talent.” Aaron Weinstein lives in New York City.

Praise for Aaron Weinstein’s Presentations

“The Lotos Club was favored with a wonderful performance from ‘The Groucho of the Violin,’ Aaron Weinstein.  While we wondered why this musical wunderkind was given the moniker of ‘Groucho,’  we realized it was because not only did his soulful violin and mandolin performance leave the audience in awe, but his deadpan wit was charming and truly entertaining.  Following the concert, the music chairwoman opened the floor to questions, which Mr. Weinstein parried with skill and humor.  The evening was an entirely feel-good night.”

Harriet Cohen, The Lotos Club of New York City

“Aaron can inject off-the-cuff humor into displays of serious scholarship and musicianship, such that the sum of his program is entertaining on several levels. He was especially impressive while interacting with the audience, transforming the evening’s Q&A into an impromptu session of stand-up comedy, seemingly without effort.”

—Bruce Gast, Bickford Theater, Ocean County College series

“Aaron Weinstein is both a master musician and storyteller. His quick, dry, wit, subject matter, expertise, and musicianship all blend seamlessly, providing a one-of-a-kind experience for those lucky enough to be in his audience.”

—Cydney Halpin, President, New Jersey Jazz Society

“Aaron Weinstein curated a sparkling program of clips of the great jazz violin masters and topped it off with a live performance worthy of his predecessors. A joy to see and hear!”

—Kathryn Bonomi, Programmer of Jazz Sessions at the Jacob Burns Film Center

“Aaron’s presentation of ‘Jazz Violin on Film’ at BLU Jazz+ was a refreshing & engaging accompaniment to his trio performance. His talent, wit, and passion for the instrument comes across not only in his playing but in his storytelling…highly recommended!”

—Mike Wyatt, Talent & Events Director, BLU Jazz+, Akron, OH

Praise for Aaron Weinstein’s Performances

“The Groucho of the violin.”

—Tony Bennett

“A sensational talent in the tradition of Stéphane Grappelli and Joe Venut, Mr. Weinstein, is an inventive melodic improviser who doesn’t go in for flashy gymnastic flourishes…He’s turned ‘Just One of Those Things’ into a mini-marathon of swinging endurance, at the end of which you were left a little breathless.”

—Stephen Holden, New York Times

“He is one in a million, this kid, a perfect musician. He’s always coming up with something different just when you think you know everything he does.”

—Bucky Pizzarelli, luminary jazz guitarist

“Aaron should bring renewed interest to the often overlooked heritage of the jazz violin while heralding the advent of an unmistakably personal improviser who can be intimately tender…as well as so fierily invigorating that you have to move to his music. Aaron’s playing transcends current self-conscious attempts to reach ‘the cutting edge’ and instead achieves the joyous act of communion that has made jazz an international language.”

—Nat Hentoff, Wall Street Journal

“If I didn’t hear and see him myself I wouldn’t believe it. He’s out of sight! He’s a genius!”
—Jon Hendricks, NEA Jazz Master

“He eats, sleeps, and breaths songs, and you never know what he’s going to do next, but he somehow miraculously makes music exciting—and keeps the audience in stitches at the same time.”

—Rex Reed, New York Observer

“One of his instrument’s rare jazz masters.”

—Don Heckman, The International Review of Music

“Genius jazz violinist Aaron Weinstein has impeccable control of his cooperative fiddle… he’s an arranger with mesmerizingly fresh notions and he introduces his music and comments on it with a knee-slapping mock-tentative delivery that establishes him hands-down as the 21st century Jack Benny.”

—David Finkle, Huffington Post

“Woody Allen would have been proud to have invented the character of American jazz violinist and diffident comedian Aaron Weinstein. In fact, it would be hard to prove with any certainty that he didn’t. Wisecracking violinists are a trope in American culture, on which Aaron Weinstein provides his own, pleasing, original take.”

London Jazz News